A coalition of social justice activists demonstrated against Hewlett Packard Enterprise outside the annual RSA cyber-security conference in San Francisco. HPE enables and profits from Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, and from racist immigration and incarceration policies in the United States.
A coalition of social justice activists demonstrated with signs, banners, and flyers outside the annual RSA cyber-security conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco on February 14th and 15th, educating attendees and the public about how Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) enables and profits from Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, and from racist immigration and incarceration policies in the United States. HPE is a platinum sponsor and participant in the annual RSA Conference.
While HPE asserts in its Global Human Rights Policy that “respecting human rights is a core value at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and is embedded in the way we do business”, the protesters challenged such a claim by pointing out that:
• HPE developed and maintains the biometric ID system used at military checkpoints within the West Bank to restrict the movement of Palestinians on their own land as well as their access to employment, medical care, and schools, while Israelis are able to travel freely.
•HPE manages the entire Israeli population registry, which is stratified based on ethnicity and religion to facilitate discrimination against minorities.
• HPE provides the IT infrastructure for the Israeli military, including for the enforcement of the deadly decade-long blockade of Gaza, which has created a humanitarian crisis.
• HPE supports technology services in illegal Israeli settlements that perpetuate and expand the ongoing theft of Palestinian land.
• HPE profits from contracts with U.S. prisons and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), whose policies disproportionately target communities of color.
Karen Platt, of the Bay Area chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, which organized the demonstrations, remarked that there was an unusual amount of positive engagement between demonstrators and attendees, including some of the many Israelis who participated in the conference. “After reading our flyers and signs, a good number of attendees wanted to learn more, and asked questions that were sometimes challenging but rarely hostile. That’s not typical, in my experience. For me it was another sign of a shift in public perception about the situation in Israel-Palestine, and about corporate social responsibility.”
The demonstration at the RSA Conference followed last month’s Global Day of Action against HP, in which over 150 actions in over 60 countries around the world called for boycotting and divesting from HP companies for profiteering from human rights abuses.